Sat. Feb 10th, 2024

Chapter 2

 

Xander’s POV

 

**Cartagena, Colombia**

 

I pulled up my rented Maserati outside the lobby of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena Hotel. The valet greeted me and took the car keys.

 

I almost bumped at a group of women

 

when I entered the hotel. They were all

 

wearing pastel floral dresses with flower

 

crowns on their heads. They looked like

 

bridesmaids in a garden wedding.

 

The girls eyed me up and down, then

 

giggled.

 

I continued on my way inside the hotel.

 

The ambiance was very nice, striking a

 

balance of French art and beauty. The

 

architectural designs were a blending of

 

vintage and contemporary.

 

I went directly to the reception area and

 

checked-in in their presidential suite.

 

“Is Lily Rojas already checked in

 

yesterday?” I asked the receptionist.

 

“You know her sir?”

 

Damn it. She just wouldn’t say Yes or No. “Of course. I know her very well. Actually… I’m meeting her here.” I gave her my best smile.

 

“Ahhhh… I see.” Her mouth opened in

 

surprise. “Yeah, she’s here since

 

yesterday.”

 

Good. Mr. Hayes did his job well in

 

knowing Mia’s itinerary.

 

I heard a commotion. The rising shrills of

 

women’s voices and giggles. I turned to

 

where the voices were.

 

“Sorry about the noise sir. A famous

 

celebrity just checked in today causing

 

excitement to some of our female guests.

 

But normally, it’s very quiet here.”

 

“Is that the telenovela actor?” I asked her. “Yeah. Dylan Cooper. You know him sir?” The receptionist’s face lifted up with excitement.

 

“Not personally.” My mouth thinning with displeasure. So, he is here with Mia. ***

 

I took a shower and planned on how to

 

confront Mia.

 

Mia. The only woman who captured my heart. It had been a year, but still I couldn’t get her out of my system. She left her mark on me – so deeply… in every cell of my body… in every drop of my blood.

 

I missed her… I missed her so badly.

 

I closed my eyes and looked down. My

 

body turned hard just thinking of her. I

 

turned the shower lever to the full blue

 

direction and shivered.

 

I have known Mia since she was still in Senior High. She was my sister’s best friend. During dinner, Stella told us about her activities in the day. Her new friend Mia, who was a fifteen year old transferee from New Zealand. Very smart with an attractive English accent. The girly things they did, their sleepovers, their celebrity and school crushes, the parties they went and other things. Well, I was not interested to hear anything about Mia at that time. For me, she was just Stella’s classmate and a friend.

 

 

Several times, I met Mia in the house. She was so thin and pale. She even looked like a kid in her school uniform. We never talked or see eye to eye. She always avoided looking at me. I was never bothered. I didn’t have time talking to young girls… she was fifteen and I was twenty at that time.

 

I remembered talking to Mia for the first

 

time. It was during Stella’s eighteenth

 

birthday . I came across her in the hotel

 

hall. We were alone. She looked so

 

surprise seeing me and she didn’t have a

 

choice but to look at me in the eye.

 

“Who died?” I asked her. She was wearing

 

an all black long sleeves dress like a

 

pilgrim.

 

“What?”

 

“You look like you’ve been in a funeral.” I extended a hand… a little, to her dress. The smile on her face slowly faded. A dim flush raced her pale and beautiful face like a fever.

 

“No one died, Mr. Valiente… I mean, not

 

recently.”

 

Instantly, I was bothered. It made me

 

regret what I just said. Damn. Why

 

couldn’t I just keep my mouth shut.

 

I clenched my hand and abruptly put it

 

down.

 

“I’m sorry. It’s just like… your dress…” So black and conservative like a nun. I really wanted to add, but I didn’t want to embarrass her further.

 

“I love black and this is my manner of

 

dressing.” She lifted her small chin

 

proudly and looked at me with contempt.

 

“I know men like you prefer their women

 

to dress in skimpy tight dresses with

 

plunging necklines and open back….

 

Showing more cleavage and skin…”

 

“Men like me?”

 

“Yeah. MEN. LIKE. YOU.” She emphasized each word with gritted teeth.

 

I chuckled. I didn’t know what happened.

 

But she got my attention. I was really

 

amused of her. “What do you mean by

 

that statement? I’m curious.”

 

“I don’t have to say it. You know what I

 

mean.”

 

“Ah… that’s not fair.” I moved towards

 

her slowly and she was stepping

 

backwards, trying to avoid any body

 

contact from me.

 

“Stay away from me.” Mia said sharply.

 

“I won’t until you tell me what you

 

mean.”

 

Mia shook her head. Then she stopped stepping backward when her back touched the wall. She resembled like a prey trapped and scared of being eaten.

 

I studied her face, her eyes and her lips.

 

God. She looked so beautiful. Why haven’t

 

I noticed that before?

 

“I wonder what men like me do to young

 

girls like you?” I lifted a finger to touch

 

her face.

 

“Don’t touch me.” Her voice was fragile

 

and shaking.

 

That made me stop and flattened my hand on the wall above her head. My brain said that I should go and leave her alone, but my body wouldn’t allow me to go.

I held her eyes with mine, wouldn’t let

 

her look away. Her glassy blue eyes were

 

so compelling, magnetic… yet full of

 

remoteness and unquenchable warmth. I moved my face nearer to hers and instantly our breath mingled. I inhaled her scent and the warm of her breath deeply. So fresh and sweet. I leaned forward. A kiss. Just one kiss.

 

Mia put her fingertips on my chest. I gasped. The mere touch of her hand made my heart jumped and body tensed.

 

“Let me go.” She almost whispered then

 

pushed my chest a little.

 

I felt like I was splashed with a bucket full of iced water. I stepped backward and saw her run away from me. ***

 

I saw Mia the moment I walked inside the bar, wearing a very s£xy satin dress and stiletto heels. Who would ever miss her, she looked like a lonely s£xy nymphet sitting there on a stool. Every man was eyeing her.

 

I sighed heavily. Mia wouldn’t dress like

 

that before.

 

I walked towards where she was and sat

 

beside her.

 

I kept an eye on her. She was looking

 

down at her margarita, then slowly her

 

thick eyelashes lifted up.

 

Our eyes caught each other and we held

 

eyes for fraction of a second.

 

“Hello Mia. Nice seeing you again.

 

.

 

RUNAWAY FIANCÉE

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